I’m delighted to announce another sale to Beneath Ceaseless Skies: “Constant Ivan and Clever Natalya,” which I describe on that page as me going Full Metal Folklore with the Rook and Rose setting. 😀
Posts Tagged ‘short stories’
If you prefer your worldbuilding essays in tangible form, you can now get New Worlds, Year Five in print from Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, and Amazon in the US or in the UK — note that the US link gives me a small commission, but I mention that for disclosure, not as a push for you to buy from Amazon.
Also also! At JordanCon last month they published their (I think) annual) anthology, this time titled Neither Beginnings Nor Endings. It contains my long story “And Ask No Leave of Thee,” which the familiar among you will have recognized as a line from the ballad “Tam Lin;” yes, after several decades, my brain finally produced a Tam Lin retelling! You can get the anthology only from Amazon, in ebook or in print (both of those commission links again).
One last post, to close out the year.
I published an ABSURD amount this year, y’all. Six short stories, which is quite a respectable number for me these days . . . and thanks to the vagaries of publishing schedules, THREE novels in the same calendar year. That isn’t normal, yo. But yeah, 2021 saw the release of The Mask of Mirrors in January, The Night Parade of 100 Demons just two weeks later in February, and then The Liar’s Knot here at the end of the year. Ooof.
As for the short fiction:
- “As Tight as Any Knot” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and a Rook and Rose short story)
- “The Bottle Tree” (Departure Mirror, and a Wilders short story)
- “Speak to the Moon” (F&SF — my first sale there!!!)
- “Oak Apple Night” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and an Onyx Court short story; I swear, I’m not trying to hit every series I’ve ever written . . .)
- “The Old Woman and the Tea” (Daily Science Fiction)
- “Ghost and Fox” (Shapers of Worlds Volume II)
. . . plus five reprints in various places.
2022 will not look the same, because it can’t. But here’s hoping for a good year, regardless.
I ran into some technical snags with this, but I have finally gotten Ars Historica into a print edition! You can get it through Bookshop.org (my current recommendation for supporting independent bookstores), Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, or Amazon in the US or the UK. It joins Maps to Nowhere in the tiny but growing library of novella-sized short fiction collections on my bookshelf — my physical bookshelf, I mean — and the others will follow in due course!
One of my projects for 2021 is to start working my way through my backlist of BVC titles and get the majority* of them into print editions. That project starts now, with Maps to Nowhere!
It’s a slim little paperback, about the size of a novella, and you can get it now from Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Bookshop.org (which, btw, has become one of my favorite places to order from — it’s the latest development in supporting independent bookstores), or Amazon US or UK. (Full disclosure: I get a commission from sales through the Amazon US link. Which is nice, but did I mention I really like Bookshop.org?)
The others will follow in due course — with the asterisk up above being that some titles (Never After, Monstrous Beauty) are too short for print editions, while others In London’s Shadow, The Doppelganger Omnibus) are too long. But the rest are Goldilocks-approved, and over the next year or so, I hope to roll them all out!
Five things make a post, right?
* About two hours from when I post this, Alyc and I will be doing an event with Tubby and Coo’s, a New Orleans independent bookseller! We’ll be in conversation with fellow author Bryan Camp, and three attendees will get their very own Rook and Rose astrological chart from Alyc.
* Last summer I was a guest on the Aurora Award-winning Worldshapers podcast. One of the neat things about this podcast is that the guy who runs it, Edward Willett, edited an anthology featuring stories from the guests he had in his first year. Now he’s doing it again, with a Kickstarter to fund the second volume! I’m on deck to provide a story for that, and I’ve also offered some fun goodies in the rewards: signed copies of The Mask of Mirrors, ebooks of Maps to Nowhere, and even some photographic prints.
* The reason I was on Worldshapers last year was because of Driftwood, which is my segue to the next item: my publisher, Tachyon, has teamed up with Humble Bundle and the Carl Brandon Society to offer a truly massive superbundle of Tachyon titles, Driftwood included. The bundle as a whole has a value of $441, and you can get all the levels for just $28. Proceeds support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Carl Brandon Society, the latter of which helps support readers and writers of color in speculative fiction.
* Publication news! I crowed here when I sold a story to F&SF (after nineteen years of trying); now I can hold the proof of my success in my hands. 😀 They’re having some website problems right now that mean there’s no direct way to buy a physical copy, but ebooks can be gotten through Weightless Books, or you can subscribe here.
* And finally, one of my horror-style flash fairy tale retellings, “The Snow-White Heart,” has been reprinted in Frozen Wavelets! This and its fellow tale “Waiting for Beauty” are among my most-reprinted pieces, which is funny because I don’t generally think of myself as someone who writes horror . . .
I think that’s it for now. But my brain is like a sieve lately, so who knows. 😛
I’ve managed to accumulate a small pile of audio news for y’all!
The big one is that at long last, the Onyx Court series is getting an audio treatment, courtesy of Blackstone Audio. Midnight Never Come came out last week; you can pick up that one from Apple or from Audible. The rest of the series will follow in due course!
I’ve also been doing a pile of audio stuff with Serial Box, starting last year. So far they’ve put up ten of my short stories and novelettes: “Daughter of Necessity,” “Coyotaje,” “Love, Cayce,” “Once a Goddess,” “The Genius Prize,” “At the Sign of the Crow and Quill,” “Mad Maudlin,” “A Mask of Flesh,” “What Still Abides,” and “Nine Sketches, in Charcoal and Blood.” But the big news here is that they’re going to do some of my novellas, as well! Deeds of Men was already done as an audiobook some years ago, and I don’t hold the rights for The Eternal Knot, but they’ll be recording audio versions of Dancing the Warrior and the two Varekai novellas, Cold-Forged Flame and Lightning in the Blood. I’ll announce those here once they’re done!
Next year is going to involve more stuff of mine being published in the first two months than I had in the entirety of 2020, but sometimes that’s the way the publication schedule cookie crumbles.
I did, however, publish things this year! Two short stories:
- “Cruel Sisters” at Daily Science Fiction (wherein I deal with a continuity error in a folksong), and
- “The City of the Tree” at Uncanny Magazine (wherein I explore a different corner of the world of the Varekai novellas).
Book-wise, I put out Driftwood, which, if not one of the best things I’ve done (and it’s gotten enough rave reception in different places that it might well be up there), is certainly the most timely: this is, after all, the book Publishers Weekly described as “hope in the face of apocalypse.” May it continue to bring light where it is needed — as it likely will be for some time.
Come on, 2021. You will not solve all our woes on January 1st — one at least will need to wait for the 20th — but may you at least be a path up out of the underworld.
I’m not going to attempt to recap 2020 generally — we all know what it’s looked like, and mostly the answer is “on fire, literally and figuratively.” But last year I made a post about my writing resolution for the upcoming twelve months, and it’s got me thinking about the last several years.
In 2017 I wrote three short stories that weren’t for L5R, all three of them solicited for anthologies (though one of the three anthos folded after my story was drafted). That was . . . not super productive. So in 2018 I set myself the goal of writing six, one every two months — again, not counting L5R work, since the goal here was to start actually submitting short fiction again. I managed five, which was at least an increase over the previous year, though two of those five were for anthologies (one of which again folded). In 2019 I decided to aim for the same target again, and thanks to some unforeseen angst over whether I could let myself count flash — a thing I hadn’t written in ages, but apparently my brain found that gear again — I wound up with nine stories, six of them full-length, three of them flash.
But for 2020, I changed my goals. See, I had a feeling that politics was going to trash my ability to concentrate, so between that and the novel work I was contracted for, I felt it was better to scale my expectations down. Three short stories only, and hopefully three specific ones that would help me finish off some collections.
. . . I wrote twelve.
Nine full-length stories and three flash fell out of my head this year. Not because the world was in better shape than I expected, but because there appears to have been a huge split in how people responded to 2020: either it destroyed their ability to get anything creative done, or that became their refuge from the stress. (This also seems to have been true of reading.) I apparently fell into the latter camp, with the result that this has been my most productive short fiction year since . . . <checks records> . . . 2004. That year I wrote a whopping twenty-four pieces — but eighteen of those were flash; the total wordcount was nearly 8K less than this year’s.
(Oh, and also two novels. Admittedly Alyc and I wrote a quarter of the second Rook and Rose book last year — but even if I count only half of the part we wrote this year, that’s still 75K. Which is not all that much shorter than Night Parade in its entirety.)
(And also my Patreon, which is like 60K+ every single year.)
Weirdly, my productivity has actually become kind of a problem. I am literally writing short fiction faster than anybody’s buying it, and at this point the submissions pipeline is saturated. I’ve got three drafts I haven’t even tried to revise, because there’s nowhere for me to send them. Even if I thought I could top this year’s achievement, what would be the point?
So my goals for 2021 are winding up about the same as last year’s, only for totally different reasons. I owe a long short story or (more likely) a novelette to an anthology; I have those three drafts that need revision. There are two stories it would be nice to write, one of which is left over from my 2020 hit list (the other two got written), but I’m not going to push.
Of course, I didn’t mean to push this year, either. So who knows what will happen.
Going into 2020, I set myself a lower goal for short stories than before, because I suspected the election might cut into my creative energy. (Hah, what an innocent lamb I was.) But when I decided to participate in the Clarion West write-a-thon — you can still sponsor me, by the way! — I included among my goals “finish two short stories,” because I didn’t want to lose momentum on those entirely. I chose my phrasing on purpose: finish two short stories. I had one partially written, and another which in theory is done, but the first draft is so meh that it needs a white-page rewrite anyway.
Right now I’ve got three finished stories, none of which are those two. Also a semi-outline for a fourth, and a nascent concept for a fifth.
It feels like the valve labeled “Short Fiction” has somehow gotten jammed in the “open” position. It started in early June, when I went to add an idea to my file of short story concepts, and my eye happened to fall on one I’d completely forgotten about. A quick dash of research later, I had a story.
Then I turned my attention to an idea that’s been in my head for over a decade, ever since I ran the Changeling game that gave rise to the Onyx Court novels. The big stumbling block on it — as with many of my short story ideas these days, honestly — was the research; I needed to find a suitable book or two to read before I could write it. But I figured, hey, I might as well look for such a book, right? Well, I found something . . . and then I read it . . .
. . . and I was halfway through a draft when a different short story idea mugged me out of nowhere, in response to an anthology call. And let me be clear: that isn’t how this usually works. I’ve written to themes when actively solicited for an anthology, but my brain is not very good at coughing up themed ideas the rest of the time; it would rather work on the two dozen ideas already in existence. In this case, though, the theme touches on a different bit from that Changeling game — something I never brought up in the Onyx Court books, but which I’d always figured was true somewhere off in the background.
Roughly twenty-four hours after reading that anthology call, I had a draft. A couple of days after that, I went back and finished the other story I’d been working on.
Oh, and that “semi-outline” for a fourth story is entirely the product of me being in the shower and then suddenly BOOM, a three-word elevator pitch grew into scenes and a conflict and I could pretty much write this one as soon as I nail down the specifics.
So yeah. I now have “999 Swords,” “Oak Apple Night,” and “This Living Hand.” (Internet cookies to anybody who can identify what those titles refer to!) I have written my first new Onyx Court fiction since “To Rise No More” in 2013, and I’ve ordered a book that might help me nudge another one toward the finish line. Not to mention that I still have those two things that are what I expected to be working on during the write-a-thon, which I can probably finish this month.
I’m not sure what’s happened, but I like it.